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“There’s a baby in a box in the sand, a baby in a box in the sand.”
That’s the first line of a song written by Amanda McBroom. The song goes on to tell the story of a woman who feels she has no choice but to leave her baby in a box with a note, a bottle, a rattle, a doll, and a needle next to the box. Most people listen to the song and hear desperation.
As an adoptive mother, I listen to the song and hear possibility.
Years ago, when I would frequently leave my school speech pathologist job at lunchtime to drive to the doctor’s office to strip from the waist down, I wondered if I would ever awaken from the horrendous nightmare of infertility.
I was obsessed with the two pregnant women with whom I shared a classroom and spent most of my days staring at their enlarged breasts. Why couldn’t I join their club? Thanks to my infertility, I had been broken and shattered into millions of little pieces across the universe and couldn’t imagine how I would ever be whole again.
My journey to motherhood began in the early '80s when I was just 26 years old. Little did I know what lay ahead.
Unless you have experienced it, the pain and agony of infertility is something you really can’t describe. Infertility patients are willing to endure any procedure or alter the chemistry of our bodies with drugs because we are led to believe that one of them will be the magical potion that will make us pregnant.
But now that I look back on it, the real question is “Why?”
Why, after months of monitoring ovulation via temperature charts, submitting to cat scans and MRIs, enduring repeated miscarriages after having prayed that this will be the one pregnancy that sticks, sinking into a depressive state month after month when we realize that once again, our periods have arrived, and cringing internally as we pretend to listen to caring friends and relatives offer well meaning but worthless advice do we continue to subject ourselves to this process?
Why do we drop whatever we are doing, sometimes daily, to drive to the doctor’s office, sit in a waiting room filled with other hopeful but discouraged women, and lie naked and exposed on the table with our feet in the cold hard stirrups only to be poked and prodded by a team of infertility specialists? How could this part of one’s body that had once been a source of so much pleasure now be a source of so much pain?
If we truly want to be parents, why don’t we just adopt a baby?
For some reason, when my husband and I made the decision to adopt, I felt obligated to pay my doctor a visit, inform him of my decision and say goodbye. After all, for the past several years we had shared a rather intimate relationship. When I told him that I had decided to stop pursuing a pregnancy and adopt a baby, his eyes welled up with tears and he asked me, “Why?” He explained that there was much more to be done, that I was still young, and that he had patients who had waited 17 years to achieve a successful pregnancy. I looked him in the eye and said, “I want to be a parent and I have no intention of waiting 17 years to do so.”
Then I left the office and never looked back.
Why, I wonder now, did I initially view adoption as a last resort? Why did I fight my inevitable journey to motherhood for so long? Perhaps it was my fear of eschewing society’s more traditional path to motherhood as well as the thought of exposing myself to intense scrutiny of my financial status, personal history, and home and family life. Or perhaps it was my narcissistic desire to clone myself.
Whatever the case, my husband and I put our concerns aside and we forged ahead with our adoption plans and adopted two beautiful children (a boy and a girl) from South Korea. Today, we are the proud parents of two adult independent children, and we wouldn’t change things for the world.
While I may always wonder why I waited so long to adopt, I may never really find the answer. In the meantime, I am working to help as many others as possible to realize their dreams of parenthood -- bringing my entire journey full circle -- because I know now that my two beautiful children are the only option I ever really wanted.